Earl Bennett #80 WR
Height: 6-0 Weight: 206 Age: 27
Born: 3/23/1987 Birmingham , AL
Experience: 7th season
High School: West End HS [Birmingham, AL]
Selected By: Chicago Bears
Pick (Overall): 7 (70)
Ever since his arrival on campus, the Commodores felt Earl Bennett was the most dangerous weapon in the Southeastern Conference. By earning All-SEC honors in each of his three college seasons, Bennett became just the second player in school history to accomplish the feat, joining linebacker Jamie Winborn (1998-2000).
Bennett is ready to test his big-play ability in the National Football League ranks.
In three seasons in Nashville, Bennett shattered most of the school's single-game, season and career receiving records. His 236 receptions also established a new all-time conference record. He became the sixth player in school annals to lead the team in receptions in three-straight years, joining Bucky Curtis (1948-50), Jeff Starling (1960-62), Curt Chesley (1968-71), Martin Cox (1976-78) and Dan Stricker (2000-02).
At West End High School, Bennett served as team captain, starting at wide receiver, running back and cornerback for an 8-3 squad that advanced to the Class 5A state playoffs as a senior. He was named the City of Birmingham's Most Valuable Football Player and Most Outstanding Athlete and selected first-team 5A All-State by the Alabama Sports Writers Association.
Bennett also received the Birmingham City Player of the Year Award and All-Birmingham Metro recognition. He rushed for 829 yards and 12 touchdowns and caught 45 passes for 729 yards during his final year. He also intercepted 10 passes and totaled 52 tackles at cornerback. He also lettered in basketball, averaging 11.2 points per game as the squad's point guard. He excelled in the classroom, graduating with a 3.82 grade point average.
Bennett made an immediate impact at Vanderbilt. Even though he did not start until the fourth game of 2005, he set the school and Southeastern Conference freshman season-record with 79 receptions, good for 876 yards. His average of 7.18 catches per game ranked ninth in the nation, and he added 76 yards on 12 punt returns while averaging 21.3 yards on 19 kickoff returns.
His freshman postseason was a busy one, as Bennett garnered Freshman All-American and Freshman All-SEC honors from The Sporting News, and was the recipient of the squad's Most Valuable Receiver Award. He added first-team All-SEC (all classes) accolades from the league's coaches and received second-team mention from the Associated Press.
For the second straight season, Bennett was named first team All-SEC by the league's coaches and received the team's Most Valuable Receiver Award. He was tied for eighth nationally with a career-high 82 receptions, the second-best season total in school annals. He gained 1,146 yards, ranking ninth in the nation with an average of 95.5 yards per game. He completed two pass attempts for 45 yards and a score, finishing with 1,190 all-purpose yards.
As a junior, Bennett received All-SEC first-team notice for the third time. He ranked second in the conference with 75 receptions for 830 yards (11.1-yard average) and five touchdowns while playing flanker and slot receiver. He also rushed 10 times for 22 yards.
Bennett declared for the 2008 NFL Draft, deciding not to return to Vanderbilt for his senior season.
In 35 games at Vanderbilt, Bennett started his final 32 contests. He totaled 2,852 yards on an SEC all-time record 236 catches (12.1-yard average) with 20 touchdowns. He carried 20 times for 44 yards (2.2 avg), returned 25 punts for 181 yards (7.2 avg) and completed 2-of-4 passes for 45 yards and a score. He added six tackles (three solo) and piled up 405 yards on 19 kickoff returns (21.3 avg). He scored 120 points and amassed 3,482 all-purpose yards, an average of 99.49 yards per game.